Liberal Democrat Budget Proposals – A Safer, Cleaner and Fairer Calderdale.

As a group we are proposing to amend the Labour cabinet on Calderdale Council’s budget proposals.

The intention of our amendment is to:

  1. Make Calderdale a safer place to live by supporting the Police to enforce the laws on speeding and dangerous driving around our Borough. Speeding and dangerous driving is a major concern of residents living in Calderdale. In recent months the Police have run ‘Operation Hawmill’. This successful operation has seen a traffic cop back on the streets of Calderdale. We would like to find some finances to support the continuation of an operation such as Hawmill to help tackle speeding and dangerous driving on our streets.
  2. Make Calderdale a cleaner greener place to live by establishing a task force to tackle Environmental crimes including: Littering, dog fouling, fly-tipping, and anti-social behaviour. Parts of Calderdale are sadly looking like a rubbish dump at the moment. Meanwhile anti-social behaviour is in many places making people’s lives a misery. The Council isn’t using powers at its disposal such as Community Protection Notices. We would like to setup a new Environmental Crime Task force to help tackle and address these issues.
  3. Make Calderdale a fairer place by stopping a proposed cut to the support disabled children get in early years education. D Catch funding enables disabled children in Early Years education to get the support they need. We believe that proposals to cut this would have a devastating impact on young disabled children here in Calderdale. We believe disabled children need all the support they can get at the Early Years level in order that they can go to achieve their fullest potential in life.

Council finances are of course very tough at the moment, there is no easy or quick way to find the resources required to implement any of these proposals. We would find the resources required to do all of these things by:

  1. Seeking to transfer some Council buildings to community use. We believe in localism and by transferring Todmorden Town Hall to the management of the Town Council and Brighouse Town Hall to a community group we see them put to better use.
  2. Re-introducing a previously agreed saving on fees. In previous budget consultations members of the public have said they would prefer to see fees and charges for Council services rise rather than more cuts to services. Labour sought to remove that previously agreed saving, we are seeking to re-introduce it.
  3. Reducing the cost of staff sickness through a Nurse Led Sickness policy. FirstCare is part of a sickness management framework that public section organisations, charities, and housing associations can sign up to. Under the scheme, Council employees are required to phone FirstCare to register any sick leave that they need to take.  They are then assessed by a nurse on the phone and advised as to what they need to do next. It is estimated by Council officers that if introduced on Calderdale Council for key areas this would save us £50K per annum.

This is a fully balanced amendment to the cabinet budget, it would not require any additional taxation upon what is already proposed, and neither would it require any additional use of balances.

The financial details of this amendment can be viewed below

 

If you have any comments on our suggestions for budget please feel free to post them. We have put this amendment in the public domain before Budget Council in order that residents are able to join in the democratic process and the debate.

Speeding Traffic Letter

The Halifax Courier has today published this letter from Cllr Ashley Evans.

Speeding traffic is causing increasing concern to residents of the Warley ward and I am frequently contacted by people expressing anger and frustration at this dangerous and anti-social behaviour. Through the Ward Forum and other community meetings my colleague James Baker and I have begun to address the problem.

Initially, SID (the Speed Indicator Device) was deployed and, despite its high visibility, it recorded speeds of up to 40mph in the new 20mph zones and speeds over 40mph in 30mph zones. The police, with the help of local residents, seized one Quad Bike and reported the driver. This was a step in the right direction but the dangerous driving continued. James and I decided enough was enough.

I e-mailed the local Police Commander and received a very positive response in under an hour. Senior officers were tasked with dealing with the problem and keeping us informed of actions and results. Extra funding was provided for a targeted operation (covering Warley and other parts of Halifax) that quickly issued 16 fixed penalty notices and seized two expensive and powerful cars – a good start, and well done to all those involved. This increased level of enforcement must be continued and James has written to our Police & Crime Commissioner asking him to make tackling speeding traffic a higher priority in his work and that of the police.

We very much welcome this action but it must be combined with more community-based approaches. The police agree and they intend to tackle the ‘culture’ behind anti-social and dangerous driving through both education and ‘enhanced enforcement’.

We will also support and work with the local Ward Forum Team who wish to set up a Warley Action Group involving the Police, the Fire Service, Road Safety officers, local schools’ representatives and the wider community. We will pass on local views on the success of this.

A combined approach may be the way to tackle this problem and it could be extended across Calderdale.

Cllr Ashley Evans

(Liberal Democrat, Warley Ward)

Campaign against speeding on Moor End Rd results in action.

We are delighted that Calderdale Council will be taking action to tackle problems with speeding that have been affecting residents on Moor End Rd in Warley ward. Evidence collected by the Council’s Speed Indicator Device (SID) show that there are consistently high volumes of speeding traffic along this stretch of road.  Residents on live on the road have had their parked cars smashed into, resulting in soaring insurance costs. In addition there was a tragic accident on this stretch of the road that resulted in a fatality.

Liberal Democrat Councillors Ashley Evans and James Baker have been campaigning for the Council to take action on this issue. This campaign has been covered in the local Courier newspaper, and reported in our local Focus newsletters, and websites.  As a result of this campaign Council officers have been working hard to think up some changes that would help to tackle the problem.

Commenting on the scheme Councillor Evans said: “This’ good news, and should make a useful, relatively low cost, contribution to safety on the road.”

A copy of the plans they have drawn up can be downloaded below. As you can see the proposed hatchings would narrow the road, and make it clear the corner  before the bus stop has to be taken at a slower speed. We hope the work is carried out quickly, and we will ensure that traffic speeds are continually monitored to asses what impact the changes have made.

Download the plans – MoorEnd Road-Woodlesford

Twenty is plenty – but is it practical?

At Calderdale Council Cabinet’s meeting on 7th October, Cllr Ashley Evans  welcomed the proposal to consult the public about the introduction of a 20mph speed limit in residential areas across Calderdale but questioned how and whether it would work.

“I’ve been campaigning to reduce the speed of traffic in my ward, especially on Roils Head Road and Moor End Road” he said “but even where a 20mph speed zone has been introduced, the Speed Indicator Device (SID) shows that many people are still doing more than 30mph. Some drivers just ignore the existing speed limits, so just changing the limit is not going to tackle those really dangerous drivers who put lives at risk.”

“I’m firmly of the view that it’s not enough just to say that we’re going to do this as a blanket measure across Calderdale, it’s got to be part of a much bigger campaign, with real enforcement” said Cllr Evans.